350,000 Masses a Day and Counting Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 09:21

I just read that it is estimated that there are 350,000 Masses celebrated every day on this planet.

(How such an estimate was arrived at is unclear, but there are 409,000 priests and bishops and every one is expected to celebrate or at last attend Mass every day, so it is a reasonable figure.  Of course, since many priests celebrate more than one Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday, presumably the number would be higher on weekends.  Is this an "average" figure or simply the number of Masses on a weekday?  Who knows?)

But let's take that 350,000 Mass a day figure as our beginning point.  So many questions arise.

How many Catholics participate in those 350,000 Masses?

(If you divide the world's 1.2 billion Catholics by 350,000, you get an attendance of 3,429 per mass.  Obviously that isn't happening.

For the sake of argument, I'm going to play around with the much more modest estimate of 20 attendees per Mass.  That would mean that something like 7 million Catholics attend Mass around the globe on a typical weekday.  Or about 6/10ths of 1% of all Catholics.  It could be higher, of course.  But it seems likely that actual attendance is 1% or lower due to many factors like lack of access, work, etc.)

What is the impact or fruit of those 350,000 Masses?  On those who attend them?  On those Catholics who weren't there? On the two thirds of the human race who aren't baptized?  On families, communities, cultures?  On global spiritual openness?  On the physical creation?  On the the Church suffering?

What is God doing?  How are we, how is our world different because they were celebrated today?

What would be missing, what would be lost - if for a single day - no Masses were celebrated on our planet?

(I've been reminded that no Masses are celebrated on Good Friday.  OK, one day down.  351 to go.)

I have no answers.  Just an intense curiosity.  Just the desire to lift the veil a tiny bit and glimpse something of the hidden river of God's redeeming love, grace, and purposes that is being poured into our world as I write.


What do you think?